Finishing chemist Chris A. Minick calls aniline dyes a good product with a bad name. Dyes are useful for special finishing effects, like layering and toning and evening out differences in color. He offers safety tips first, and then talks about the differences between pigments and dyes and which water-soluble dyes have lasting color and clarity. You can customize stain color with oil-soluble dyes, and you can tint shellac and lacquer with alcohol-soluble dyes. Minick includes tips that reduce sanding time and explains how to adjust the color to suit the wood. He closes with special-effects tips and side information on the fading you should expect from dyes.

From Fine Woodworking #114